Turnkey Tyranny? Struggles for a New Digital Order

  • Thorsten ThielEmail author
Part of the Global Issues book series (GLOISS)


Networking and digital communication pervade every area of life. As a consequence, norm formation on the Net has become a hotly disputed process. The chapter tracks the evolution of order in Internet politics and correlates this with the emergence of dissidence and its various manifestations. It is argued that dissidence has found a particularly conducive setting for its operations and that, thanks to the open starting position and an astute use of the expanding protest repertoire, it has managed to generate considerable public interest and high legitimacy. To what extent politicisation and dissident practice will succeed, nevertheless, remains to be seen since public approval in the field of Internet politics does not translate easily into effective changes.


Civil Disobedience Software Piracy Commercial Actor Oppositional Actor Internet Economy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Assange, Julian. 2006. ‘“Conspiracy as Governance” and “State and Terrorist Conspiracies”’. Accessed 8 April 2016.
  2. Assange, Julian. 2010. ‘Don’t Shoot Messenger for Revealing Uncomfortable Truths’. The Australian, 8 December.Google Scholar
  3. Barbrook, Richard, and Andy Cameron. 1996. ‘The Californian Ideology’. Science as Culture 6(1): 44–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barlow, John Perry. 1996. ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’. Accessed 23 May 2016.
  5. Beckedahl, Markus. 2015. ‘Die digitale Gesellschaft: Netzpolitik, Bürgerrechte und Machtfrage’. Journal of Self-Regulation and Regulation 1(1): 11–30.Google Scholar
  6. Bendrath, Ralf, and Milton Mueller. 2011. ‘The End of the Net as We Know it: Deep Packet Inspection and Internet Governance’. New Media & Society 13(7): 1142–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benkler, Yochai. 2011. ‘A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate’. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 46(2): 311–97.Google Scholar
  8. Benkler, Yochai. 2013. ‘Practical Anarchism: Peer Mutualism, Market Power, and the Fallible State’. Politics & Society 41(2): 213–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Benkler, Yochai. 2016. ‘Degrees of Freedom, Dimensions of Power’. Daedalus 145(1): 18–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bennett, Colin J. 2008. The Privacy Advocates: Resisting the Spread of Surveillance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Castells, Manuel. 2004. ‘Informationalism, Networks, and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint’. In The Network Society: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, edited by Manuel Castells, 3–45. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Castells, Manuel. 2010. The Rise of the Network Society. 2nd ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Celikates, Robin. 2015. ‘Digital Publics, Digital Contestation: A New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere?’. In Transformations of Democracy, edited by Robin Celikates, Regina Kreide, and Tilo Wesche, 159–74. London: Rowman & Littlefield International.Google Scholar
  14. Clark, David D. 2016. ‘The Contingent Internet’. Daedalus 145(1): 9–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Coleman, Gabriella. 2009. ‘Code Is Speech: Legal Tinkering, Expertise, and Protest among Free and Open Source Software Developers’. Cultural Anthropology 24(3): 420–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Coleman, Gabriella. 2012. Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Coleman, Gabriella. 2014. Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. London: Verso Books.Google Scholar
  18. Crawford, Susan P. 2007. ‘Internet Think’. Journal on Telecommunications & High Technology Law 5: 467–86.Google Scholar
  19. Dany, Charlotte. 2012. ‘Ambivalenzen der Partizipation: Grenzen des NGO-Einflusses auf dem Weltgipfel zur Informationsgesellschaft’. Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 19(2): 71–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Deibert, Ronald J. 2013. Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy and the Dark Side of the Internet. Toronto: Signal.Google Scholar
  21. Deibert, Ronald, and Rafal Rohozinski. 2010. ‘Liberation vs. Control: The Future of Cyberspace’. Journal of Democracy 21(4): 43–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. DeNardis, Laura. 2009. Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. DeNardis, Laura. 2012. ‘Hidden Levers of Internet Control: An Infrastructure-based Theory of Internet Governance’. Information, Communication & Society 15(5): 720–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. DeNardis, Laura. 2013. ‘The Emerging Field of Internet Governance’. In Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies, edited by William H. Dutton, 555–77. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. DeNardis, Laura. 2014. The Global War for Internet Governance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Diffie, Whitfield, and Susan Landau. 2007. Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Drake, William J., Vinton G. Cerf, and Wolfgang Kleinwächter. 2016. ‘Internet Fragmentation: An Overview’. In World Economic Forum (Future of the Internet Initiative) White Paper. Geneva: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar
  28. Drezner, Daniel. 2004. ‘The Global Governance of the Internet: Bringing the State Back In’. Political Science Quarterly 119(3): 477–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Earl, Jennifer. 2006. ‘Pursuing Social Change Online: The Use of Four Protest Tactics on the Internet’. Social Science Computer Review 24: 362–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Earl, Jennifer, and Katrina Kimport. 2011. Digitally Enabled Social Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ebert, Hannes, and Tim Maurer. 2013. ‘Contested Cyberspace and Rising Powers’. Third World Quarterly 34(6): 1054–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Enzensberger, Hans Magnus. 2014. ‘Wehrt Euch’. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 1 March, 9.Google Scholar
  33. Faris, Robert, Hal Roberts, Bruce Etling, Dalia Othman, and Yochai Benkler. 2015. Score Another One for the Internet: The Role of the Networked Public Sphere in the U.S. Net Neutrality Policy Debate. Berkman Center Research Publication 4. Cambridge, MA: Berkman Center Harvard University.Google Scholar
  34. Floridi, Luciano. 2014. The 4th Revolution: How the Infosphere Is Reshaping Human Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Funken, Christiane. 2010. ‘Der Hacker’. In Diven, Hacker, Spekulanten: Sozialfiguren der Gegenwart, edited by Stephan Moebius and Markus Schroer, 190–205. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  36. Ganz, Kathrin. 2015. ‘Zehn Jahre Netzbewegung: Konflikte um Privatheit im digitalen Bürgerrechtsaktivismus vor und nach Snowden’. Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 28(3): 35–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Goldsmith, Jack, and Tim Wu. 2006. Who Controls the Internet: Illusions of a Borderless World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Greenberg, Andy. 2012. This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Hacktivists, and Cipherpunks are Freeing the World’s Information. New York: Dutton.Google Scholar
  39. Haase, Adrian, and Theresa Züger. 2015. ‘Hacktivismus = Cybercrime? Eine Replik auf die Studie des BKA zu Hacktivisten’. Accessed 8 April 2016.
  40. Hansen, Lene, and Helen Nissenbaum. 2009. ‘Digital Disaster, Cyber Security, and the Copenhagen School’. International Studies Quarterly 53(4): 1155–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hempel, Leon. 2015. ‘Technisierter Protest, Hacking und die Absorptionskraft des Designs’. Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 27(4): 112–21.Google Scholar
  42. Himanen, Pekka. 2004. ‘The Hacker Ethic as the Culture of the Information Age’. In The Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective, edited by Manuel Castells, 420–31. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  43. Hofmann, Jeanette. 2009. ‘Formierung und Wandel des Politischen in der Regulierung des Internet’. In Das Planetarische: Kultur–Technik–Medien im postglobalen Zeitalter, edited by Ulrike Bergermann, Isabell Otto, and Gabriele Schabacher, 175–86. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink.Google Scholar
  44. Hofmann, Niklas. 2011. ‘Der Gegenverschwörer’. In Wikileaks und die Folgen: Netz, Medien, Politik, edited by Heinrich Geiselberger, 47–54. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  45. Howard, Philip N. 2010. The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Information Technology and Political Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Johnson, David R., and David G. Post. 1996. ‘Law and Borders: The Rise of Law in Cyberspace’. Stanford Law Review 48: 1367–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Jordan, Tim. 2008. Hacking: Digital Media and Technological Determinism. London: Polity.Google Scholar
  48. Kahn, Richard, and Douglas Kellner. 2005. ‘Oppositional Politics and the Internet: A Critical/Reconstructive Approach’. Cultural Politics 1(1): 75–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kamis, Ben, and Thorsten Thiel. 2015. The Original Battle Trolls: How States Represent the Internet as a Violent Place. PRIF Working Paper 23. Frankfurt am Main: PRIF.Google Scholar
  50. Kartenberg, Hans-Peter. 2011. ‘Das Netz als Ort des Protests: Gilt die Demonstrationsfreiheit auch im Internet?’. Bürgerrechte & Polizei 98: 57–63.Google Scholar
  51. Kehl, Danielle, Andi Wilson, and Kevin Bankston. 2015. ‘Doomed to Repeat History: Lessons from the Crypto Wars of the 1990s’. Open Technology Institute Policy Paper, June.Google Scholar
  52. Kelty, Christopher. 2005. ‘Geeks, Social Imaginaries, and Recursive Publics’. Cultural Anthropology 20(2): 185–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kidd, Dorothy. 2003. ‘ A New Communications Common’. In Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice, edited by Martha McCaughey and Michael D. Ayers, 47–70. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Kleger, Heinz, and Eric Makswitat. 2014. ‘Digitaler Ungehorsam: Wie das Netz den zivilen Ungehorsam verändert’. Forschungsjournal Neue Soziale Bewegungen 27(4): 8–17.Google Scholar
  55. Kubitschko, Sebastian. 2015. ‘The Role of Hackers in Countering Surveillance and Promoting Democracy’. Media and Communication 3(2): 77–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lagasnerie, Geoffroy de. 2016. Die Kunst der Revolte: Snowden, Assange, Manning. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  57. Leifeld, Philip, and Sebastian Haunss. 2012. ‘Political Discourse Networks and the Conflict over Software Patents in Europe’. European Journal of Political Research 51(3): 382–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Leiner, Barry M., Vinton G. Cerf, David D. Clark, Robert E. Kahn, Kleinrock Leonard, Daniel C. Lynch, Jon Postel, Larry G. Roberts, and Stephen Wolff. 2011. ‘Brief History of the Internet’. Accessed 23 May 2016.
  59. Lovink, Geert, and Patrice Riemens. 2013. ‘Twelve Theses on Wikileaks’. In Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society, edited by Benedetta Brevini, Arne Hintz, and Patrick McCurdy, 245–53. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ludlow, Peter, ed. 2001. Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopia. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  61. McCaughey, Martha, and Michael D. Ayers, eds. 2003. Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Milan, Stefania. 2013a. ‘Indymedia (The Independent Media Center)’. In Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements, edited by David Snow, Donatella Della Porta, Bert Klandermans, and Doug McAdam, 603–5. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  63. Milan, Stefania. 2013b. Social Movements and Their Technologies: Wiring Social Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Milan, Stefania. 2013c. ‘Wikileaks, Anonymous, and the Exercise of Individuality: Protesting in the Cloud’. In Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society, edited by Benedetta Brevini, Arne Hintz, and Patrick McCurdy, 191–208. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Moore, Daniel, and Thomas Rid. 2016. ‘Cryptopolitik and the Darknet’. Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 58(1): 7–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Morozov, Evgeny. 2011. The Net Delusion. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  67. Mueller, Milton. 2015. ‘Gibt es Souveränität im Cyberspace’. Journal of Self-Regulation and Regulation 1(1): 65–80.Google Scholar
  68. Musiani, Francesca, Derrick L. Cogburn, Laura DeNardis, and Nanette S. Levinson, eds. 2016. The Turn to Infrastructure in Internet Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  69. Nissenbaum, Helen. 2004. ‘Hackers and the Contested Ontology of Cyberspace’. New Media & Society 6(2): 195–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Nissenbaum, Helen. 2005. ‘Where Computer Security Meets National Security’. Ethics and Information Technology 7(2): 61–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. O’Hagan, Andrew. 2014. ‘Ghosting Julian Assange’. London Review of Books 36(5): 5–26.Google Scholar
  72. Olson, Parmy. 2012. We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency. New York: Little, Brown and Co.Google Scholar
  73. Peters, Justin. 2016. The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  74. Powell, Alison. 2016. ‘Hacking in the Public Interest: Authority, Legitimacy, Means, and Ends’. New Media & Society 18(4): 600–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pozen, David E. 2013. ‘The Leaky Leviathan: Why the Government Condemns and Condones Unlawful Disclosures of Information’. Harvard Law Review 127: 512–635.Google Scholar
  76. Sagar, Rahul. 2011. ‘Das mißbrauchte Staatsgeheimnis: Wikileaks und die Demokratie’. In Wikileaks und die Folgen, edited by Heinrich Geiselberger, 201–23. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  77. Sauter, Molly. 2014. The Coming Swarm: DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  78. Scheuermann, William E. 2014. ‘Whistleblowing as Civil Disobedience: The Case of Edward Snowden’. Philosophy & Social Criticism 40(7): 609–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Shantz, Jeff, and Jordon Tomblin. 2014. Cyber Disobedience: Re://presenting Online Anarchy. Winchester: Zero Books.Google Scholar
  80. Shirky, Clay. 2008. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  81. Singh, J.P. 2013. ‘Information Technologies, Meta-power, and Transformations in Global Politics’. International Studies Review 15(1): 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sprenger, Florian. 2015. Politik der Mikroentscheidungen: Edward Snowden, Netzneutralität und die Architekturen des Internets. Lüneburg: meson press.Google Scholar
  83. Thiel, Thorsten. 2014a. ‘Die Schönheit der Chance: Utopien und das Internet’. Juridikum. Zeitschrift für Kritik – Recht – Gesellschaft 15(4): 459–71.Google Scholar
  84. Thiel, Thorsten. 2014b. ‘Internet und Souveränität’. In Der Begriff der Souveränität in der transnationalen Konstellation, edited by Friederike Kuntz and Christian Volk, 215–39. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  85. Timberg, Craig. 2015. The Threatened Net: How the Web Became a Perilous Place. New York: Diversion Books.Google Scholar
  86. Tufekci, Zeynep. 2016. ‘As the Pirates Become CEOs: The Closing of the Open Internet’. Daedalus 145(1): 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Turgeman-Goldschmidt, Orly. 2005. ‘‘Hackers’ Accounts: Hacking as a Social Entertainment’. Social Science Computer Review 23(1): 8–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Turner, Fred. 2006. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Weinberger, David. 2015. ‘The Internet That Was (and Still Could Be)’. The Atlantic, 22 June.Google Scholar
  90. White, Micah. 2016. ‘The Panama Papers: Leaktivism’s Coming of Age’. The Guardian, 5 April. Accessed 6 April 2016.
  91. Williams, Elliot. 2016. ‘Hackers and Heroes: A Tale of Two Countries’, 11 January. Accessed 7 April 2016.
  92. Winter, Rainer. 2008. ‘Perspektiven eines alternativen Internets’. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 39: 23–8.Google Scholar
  93. Wolfson, Todd. 2014. Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  94. Wu, Tim. 2010. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  95. Zittrain, Jonathan. 2003. ‘Internet Points of Control’. Boston College Law Review 44(2): 653–88.Google Scholar
  96. Zittrain, Jonathan. 2009. The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  97. Zittrain, Jonathan. 2010. ‘Protecting the Internet without Wrecking It: How to Meet the Security Threat’. In The Next Digital Decade: Essays on the Future of the Internet, edited by Berin Szoka and Adam Marcus, 91–112. Washington, DC: TechFreedom.Google Scholar
  98. Züger, Theresa. 2014. ‘Digitaler ziviler Ungehorsam: Spurensuche der Dissidenz im digitalen Zeitalter’. Juridikum. Zeitschrift für Kritik – Recht – Gesellschaft 15(4): 472–81.Google Scholar
  99. Züger, Theresa, Stefania Milan, and Leonie M. Tanczer. 2015. ‘Sand in the Information Society Machine: How Digital Technologies Change and Challenge the Paradigms of Civil Disobedience’. Fibreculture Journal 26: 108–35.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)Frankfurt am MainGermany

Personalised recommendations